A.S. Byatt’s Possession:

Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête (1946) or a gorgeous adaptation of a French fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast watch here in English

Breton mythology is a mixture of Celtic and French due to proximity to the UK and is believed to be the setting of many Arthurian legends. watch a video overview here

Jean de la Fontaine wrote numerous fables for children that remain popular to this day.

Marie de France was the first female Francophone poet from the 12th century known for her translations of fairy tales and her own lais which are a type of writing native to Bretagne.

Charles Baudelaire was a famous French poet in the 19th century known for writing poems that were banned due to their content but also for being considered overly provocative. He was very influential on later generations of poets and considered very innovative at the time.

Je Vis, Je Meurs” by Louise Labé who was a 16th century French poet known for her sonnets, but this poem in particular made me think of the relationship between Ash and Christabel.

I’m not sure why but Christabel’s work just reminds me of Hozier’s music with the creepy ethereal aesthetic.

Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace:

What is floriography? Victorians created a whole system of meanings for every flower and each color of it and what different combinations could mean. There’s a whole lot of contradictions between all of the meanings but the history is super interesting and has roots in France so I’m obviously interested. You can read a really good overview of it here.

I also had to use several websites to find the meanings of the flowers which are all hyperlinked in the post but I’ll also list them here:

In the post I briefly mentioned the song “Rose of Tralee” that appears twice in the novel. It was an Irish folk song that was widely known, but later on the song was recorded in 1930 by John McCormack and later on in 1947 by Bing Crosby. I love Bing Crosby but John McCormack’s accent gives the song a more Irish feel. I’m going to include the lyrics down below but it’s a beautiful song.

The pale moon was rising above the green mountain,

The sun was declining beneath the blue sea;

When I strayed with my love to the pure crystal fountain,

That stands in the beautiful Vale of Tralee.

She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,

Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;

Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,

That made me love Mary, the Rose of Tralee.

The cool shades of evening their mantle were spreading,

And Mary all smiling was listening to me;

The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding,

When I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee.

Though lovely and fair as the Rose of the summer,

Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;

Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,

That made me love Mary the Rose of Tralee.

In the far fields of India, ‘mid war’s dreadful thunders,

Her voice was a solace and comfort to me,

But the chill hand of death has now rent us asunder,

I’m lonely tonight for the Rose of Tralee.

She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer,

Yet ’twas not her beauty alone that won me;

Oh no, ’twas the truth in her eyes ever dawning,

That made me love Mary,

The Rose of Tralee

For this novel, I kept listening to Taylor Swift songs because I feel like they encompass Grace’s feelings pretty well. But even though the novel was set in Canada I think it fits with Southern Gothic music really well, a little dark and grungy. Just like the subject of the novel.

Julian Barnes’ Arthur & George

“The Case of Mr. George Edalji” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published in 1907 is an article on the case from Sir Arthur’s perspective.

“Boxes in Boxes: Julian Barnes, Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and the Edalji Case” by D. Michael Risinger is an in-depth article that gets into the case and the court details.

Articles 1 and 2 showing that Julian Barnes was inspired by the Dreyfus Affair as well as George Edalji’s case.

A short explanation of the Dreyfus Affair and a more in-depth one, basically the Dreyfus Affair was a long drawn out case of an egregious miscarriage of justice due in part to anti-Semitism. There was treason, conspiracies by the military to cover up espionage, trialS (plural), acquittals, public outcry, and even a possible murder. So basically it was super interesting and you should read about it because this was an important moment that had impact on the later world wars.

Emile Zola was a famous French author who got involved in advocating for Alfred Dreyfus’s freedom. He was super well-known at the time and was nominated for the first two Nobel Prizes in literature. He also died suspiciously due to carbon monoxide poisoning and there was a later deathbed confession from his “murderer.” He wrote an open letter to the French President regarding the Dreyfus affair entitled “J’accuse” and was later found guilty of libel due to it.

The Murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman

The Murder of Gianni Versace by Andrew Cunanan

The Murder of Tupac Shakur

The Murder of Selena Quintanilla Perez by Yolanda Saldívar

The Tate-LaBianca Murders by Charles Manson and his weird cult. I’m assuming we all have a passing familiarity with this case. If not there’s an endless amount of information to be found online.

The Me Too movement as we all know is a movement speaking out against sexual assault and making sure that those responsible are held accountable regardless of their notoriety. I won’t bother linking all of the celebrities accused of murder or assault on this page as they are linked in the blog and don’t deserve their own separate posting.

The West Memphis Three were convicted of murdering children but after many years of protests and weak evidence and a lack of reliable proof the petitions for their freedom were granted. However, they were not pardoned and instead all pled the Alford plea, meaning they maintain their innocence while pleading guilty.

The Adnan Syed case which gained notoriety on the podcast, Serial, which is still ongoing.

The Cyntoia Brown case where public outcry and celebrity endorsements led to her eventual release.

Alasdair Gray’s Poor Things

Two short, but informative summaries of Frankenstein can be located here and here is a less formal one.

A biography on the real William Godwin and his equally iconic wife, Mary Wollstonecraft.

A basic overview of the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and their relationship.

The true queen of the goths most iconic moments.

Lord Byron is an absolutely insane man, mostly because if half of the stories about him are true then he would have been more famous than any of the Kardashians based solely on his antics rather than his literary achievements.

He is also, much like Mary Shelley widely believed to have been bisexual although his sexuality was pretty well-known even back then.

His daughter, Ada Lovelace, famed mathematician and computer programmer (yes even before we had computers) was no less iconic and was well known for her achievements as well as her gambling.

Everyone mentioned in this post had a very interesting personal life and even if you aren’t a fan of their work you can’t deny that they lived fascinating lives. I would highly recommend looking them up, in particular the anecdotes about their lives.

Finally, L’inconnue de la Seine, records are a little sketchy but this is by now famous Parisian folklore so much of what is out there is in French but the Wikipedia article has a pretty good summary of the story. There is an article on the original mask and the truths as well as on the CPR doll and its connection.

Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White

The Man of Pleasure’s Illustrated Pocket Book of 1850 was a small book disguised as a wallet that men could carry around in the pocket. It was like the Michelin Guide to prostitutes and brothels with descriptions, ratings, and pictures. It is also the real life counterpart to the fictional More Sprees in London.

FaceMash like I described in the post was a misogynistic website created in 2003 that was meant to compare photos of girls and choose the “hottest” one. It is also worth noting that the original blog posts by Zuckerberg about the website are available and describe how his original plan was to compare girls to farm animals. It was only taken down after a disciplinary hearing by Harvard took place and he was not punished in any other way. This was not much of a punishment however as the website inspired Zuckerberg to create Facebook using some of the same ideas from the FaceMash site as is shown in not only the film, The Social Network, but also as was discussed in his deposition at Congress as well as several other lawsuits filed against him. If you believe in karma then Facebook’s record breaking IPO flop seems to have evened the scales a bit as well as the numerous FTC lawsuits currently in progress against Facebook.

Timeline of British laws concerning sex work.

We may think of the Victorians as prudes but they were not. Sex is not a modern invention and one look at Victorian Era pornography will remind you of that. It’s surprisingly diverse and much of the literature of the time includes flogging, incest, and so many other things you couldn’t imagine the stuffy Victorians partaking in. If you need to know anything about sex work or sex from the past I highly recommend looking around this website.

Factories during this time period were super dangerous and did not pay well. They also used child labor which was a big issue of contention and many acts were passed to improve safety and to increase the age of employees. Two major incidents regarding the safety or lack thereof in the factories which employed women would be the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 which killed 146 and injured 78. There was also the highly publicized lawsuit of the Radium Girls who were exposed to radium and many ended up later dying of radiation related diseases. The victims of these two incidents were predominately women and girls. If you’re interested in the radium girls I would highly recommend the book by Kate Moore.

Title is a reference the the song You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore, feminist and LGBTQ icon, it was also rerecorded by G-Eazy and SAYGRACE several years ago.

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